Firstly, let’s deal with those who claim calling an election is unscrupulous. Look at the evidence. There’s the mounting dissent to PM May, from Sturgeon’s unspecified threat of “further action” after the Easter holidays in her quixotic campaign for “indyref2” – would she have called an unofficial referendum in defiance of Westminster? Then, the 2015 manifesto that ties her hands in terms of tax changes (such as fixing National Insurance contributions for the self-employed) and year-on-year pension increases of at least 2.5% (even if we see price deflation and wage growth turns negative).
With a wafer-thin working majority of 17 and no prospect of much happening in Brexit negotiations until after German elections, this was the last chance to address these issues. Yes, I wish she’d not so unequivocally spoken of governing till 2020, but she has now fully assessed the mountain ahead, from a position of being in the driving seat, and realised that upgrades are needed to the engine. We should give her the benefit of the doubt that this represent a genuine change of mind, based on sound reasons, not merely political expediency.
Quite simply, there are many good reasons to call a general election and solidify support for a strong United Kingdom negotiating the best possible relationships with all our neighbours in the “global village”.
Turning to the only potential alternative to Prime Minister May, we must see that Corbyn is a depressing joke. Unable to command the respect of his own Parliamentary Labour Party, who he should be working with most closely and uniting in opposition to the Tories, he is a dismal failure: too busy being friends with Hamas and Hezbollah, unable to articulate clearly a manifesto for change and described by his fellow-MPs as an “insurmountable obstacle to victory”. If he really cared about Britain, he would recognise his glaring weaknesses and step aside, so that Labour can function properly.
So, whilst I sympathise with everyone who feels fatigued by the prospect of more trips to the ballot box, I would encourage everyone to vote strategically. We must send a message that the SNP’s abysmal performance in Holyrood is unacceptable. How can they justify being given a £466 million increase in their budget, whilst simultaneously cutting £327 million from Local Councils, gutting vital public services? This complacency and incompetence must stop now.
Focusing on the General Election, the SNP simply cannot form a government at Westminster, given their fixation on independence and unwillingness to even explore the promising federal options outlined by former-PM Gordon Brown. They are a dangerous irrelevance who draw a generous salary, do next to nothing and were forced to suspend two of their misbehaving members within months of their election in 2015. So much for a “new politics”.
Looking at the electoral maths in Moray from 6th May 2016, if those who voted against the SNP incumbent united behind the Conservative candidate, who was only 2,875 votes behind Richard Lochhead, we’d finally have a proper MP and the United Kingdom would be much secure. Sadly, there’s just one option on the paper where your vote won’t be wasted.
Surely, it is in our best interests to give the current government a strong cohort of Scottish MPs, so our voice is at the heart of decision-making and shapes policy.